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#2120: Willa Cather to Elsie Cather and Roscoe Cather, November 25, 1935

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Dear Sister3

please send this letter on to Roscoe4.

Dear Roscoe4 and Elsie3:

This will be a report more than a letter. I simply want you to know where I am and why I haven't written. I got in2 ten days ago after a very rough passage. I always enjoy rough weather at sea, but Edith5 was really very ill all the way over. There was an excellent trained nurse on board who took splendid care of her, and I was free to enjoy the north Atlantic weather on a deck. As soon as we landed Edith had to go into the hospital for a slight operation. Only a few days before we left France6 she noticed a little lump in her shoulder. The very morning after we landed, before we had telephone connection, I set out in search of the surgeon who removed her appendix years ago. Three days later she went into the hospital and had the lump removed. It proved to be a perfectly harmless cyst with no malignant features, and she is now back in the apartment rapidly recovering from an operation under full anaesthetic. I have had my hands very full getting the apartment7 in order and housekeeping with a temporary maid. As you probably know, my splendid French Josephine8 who has been with me for so many years, whenever I kept house, went back to France with her husband9 and daughter10 last summer, about ten days before we sailed for Italy11. Her husband has been ill for a long time and longed to finish his days in his own village12 in the Pyrenees. Josephine is only forty-three years of age and when she first worked for me she was only twenty-three. She was not only a marvelous cook and manager, but one of the truest and inspiriting friends I have ever known. The loss of her is just one of those great losses that come to one in this life, but there is never a day I do not rejoice that she is back in her own glorious mountains, to live out her vigorous life in the country she loves so passionately.

In all the rush of hospitals and cleaners and business affairs, I did manage to get a letter off to Dean Lee13 for the Bishop's14 anniversary15. His manner of asking for it was not very gracious, and he may not see fit to have it read at the dinner. The truth is that Dean Lee seems to have a special grouch at the Bishop and a secondary grouch at me. If I ever get time, I want to write the Bishop a real letter, for both Elsie and Carrie16 know how much I love him and how proud I always feel of him. I have met a great many bishops, but not one of them looks the part and is the part like our own Bishop Beecher. I hope Carrie or Elsie will tell him how I really feel - you know I am rather bashful about expressing my admiration to the objects of it.

Lovingly to you all, Willie
Dear Brother4

I should have sent this letter on long before this. But I have been pretty much under the weather of late and don't seem to get anything done.

Love, Elsie